Haste makes waste

When you have an overly-attached toddler who also happens to be a mix of Speedy Gonzales and Energizer Bunny when he’s not clinging onto you, 5 minutes of free time might make you rush into doing something you might later regret. That was me this past Monday.

I don’t know what it is about spring but as soon as it arrives I feel the need to get a haircut. Not just a trim… I’m talking like half my hair chopped off without any care in the world (mostly because my hair grows back fast).

But this year things went down a little differently. We gave my son a much-needed haircut on Sunday night and by Monday afternoon I was ready for a haircut of my own. Except I didn’t book an appointment at my nearest hair salon. Nope. I did the exact opposite. I looked in the mirror at my split ends, glanced over at my toddler who was busy watching Blippi, grabbed a scissor and started snipping.

I was in such a rush to get it all done before my son could find out what I was up to that I didn’t even YouTube a tutorial on how to cut hair at home. I went with my memory instead. I had seen someone giving a 2-minute haircut on a talk-show once and I thought I’d be able to do the same. Again, I didn’t pause to think about the exact method. I relied on my memory but it failed me, and instead of bringing my hair to the front, tying an elastic band to the end, then chopping from just above the band I did the opposite. I tied my hair at the back, brought the ponytail to the side, and snipped from under the band. #MAJORhaircutfail

If that hashtag doesn’t explain the end result then let me put it a different way: my hair was a short, lop-sided mess. I wanted to cry. I’ve never looked worse with short hair. The regret kicked in pretty fast. I tied my hair in a messy bun and went on with my day.

It wasn’t until the evening when Hubby and I were watching TV that I told him about the haircut. I told him I had something to show him. And then I let my hair down. Ta-da! I did it myself I said regretfully. He was taken aback and then we both mourned my loss.

It’s been 4 days since then and I think I’m going a little crazy trying to even it out. Hubby helped even it out a bit the following morning but I felt I could even it out even more.

Even, even, even that’s all I can think about. Every time I go to the washroom my hand reaches for the scissors and before I know it, I’m snipping the odd strand here and there and then cutting my hair all over. I should probably go to a salon and get them to fix it for me. I’ve learned my lesson: haste makes waste; no more 5-minute, at-home haircuts for me.

Thanks for reading!

Lots of bear hugs,

-Momma M

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Baby’s growing vocabulary

Now that my son is nearing 18 months he’s picking up on more words and adding to his vocabulary. He learns mostly by mimicking words we say (at least the ones he finds interesting) but also by watching television and playing with his cousins. Here’s a list of the words he currently knows (it will be interesting to see what this list looks like 6 months or a year from now!):

Relationships

  • Mama–his first word was mum ๐Ÿ˜Š
  • Baba (what he calls his dad)
  • Nano (what he calls my mom, his maternal grandmother)
  • Nana (what he calls my dad, his maternal grandfather)
  • Dada (what he calls my father-in-law, his paternal grandfather)
  • Dadee (what he calls my mother-in-law, his paternal grandmother)
  • Tatu (what he calls my brother-in-law, his paternal uncle; the actual word is Chachoo but he usually doesn’t make the ‘ch’ sound)
  • Phopho (what he calls my sister-in-law, his paternal aunt; pretty close to the actual word phuppho)
  • Bebi (what he calls my brother-in-law’s newborn)

Around the house

  • Tartoon (his take on cartoon)
  • Elmo (sometimes shortened to mo) from Sesame Street
  • Bippi/happi (his take on Blippi, the educational video superstar for kids; he watches Blippi’s videos every single day)
  • Uppa (his take on the Urdu word upar which means upstairs. He also uses it to refer to the ceiling and things on top of the fridge and on top of shelves).
  • Bat-h (his take on the word bath, short for bath tub; he says it like the word bat with a clear ‘h’ added to the end)
  • Dappay (his take on diaper)
  • Dyno (his little dinosaur toy)
  • Teddi (his teddy bears, which he loves to hug)
  • Laight (any kind of light, like a chandelier or a floor lamp)
  • Bo (his take on the word blocks, as in his toy blocks, also used to refer to a ball)
  • Mo (his take on the word remote)
  • Noon (his take on the word phone)

Expressions

  • Uh-oh (usually said after he drops something on the floor, whether by accident or on purpose ๐Ÿ™ˆ)
  • Waoow (usually says this after he hears us say wow)
  • Yaah (said to show agreement)
  • Noo (his reply to the question ‘do you want to eat?’ He would rather play all day)
  • Yeh tya ai (his way of asking “yeh kya hai” which in Urdu means “what is this?” He says this at least 50 times a day; he’s very inquisitive)
  • Wat (‘what’ sometimes he says this when he wants us to repeat ourselves)
  • Niice (his take on the word nice)
  • Nah niice (meaning not nice; he usually repeats this after I say it to him when he does something unpleasant)
  • Don do (meaning don’t do; this is something he repeats after he hears me telling him not to unplug my phone from its charger)

Greetings

  • Hullo (typical phone greeting or when he sees someone)
  • Bai (said with a wave of the hand when he sees someone putting their shoes or coat on or when we leave)

Food

  • Baan (short for banana, one of his favourite fruits)
  • Roti (flatbread)
  • Dudu (the Urdu word for milk; he calls almost every liquid dudu or dood)
  • Watay (his take on ‘water’)
  • Pandi (his take on the Urdu word for water, which is pani)
  • Yogay (his take on ‘yogurt’)
  • Peech (peach and just about anything he likes)
  • Peeji (his take on ‘pizza’)
  • Anda (the Urdu word for egg)
  • Aaloo (the Urdu word for potato)
  • Chichi (his take on the word chicken)
  • Eet (his take on the word eat, he adds an ‘h’ sound to the end)
  • Shpishy (his take on the word spicy; he often reaches for the bottle of Sri Racha sauce and I have to remind him that he can’t have it because it’s spicy)

Aside from these words he makes a lot of other sounds like pish pish when he gets his hands on the water spray bottle I use for ironing, or his empty shampoo bottle. He also likes to imitate other people’s laughter and cough (it’s kind of cute and funny, when they’re not choking of course). And just yesterday he tried to make a popping sound with his hand and mouth after watching an episode of Sesame Street.

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What are some fun words/sounds your toddler has learned? Let me know in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you.

Lots and lots of bear hugs,

-Momma M

Quick and tasty lunch ideas

I’m not one to spend hours in the kitchen labouring over breakfast or lunch. I mean before I had my son I wouldn’t mind cooking but now that he’s a toddler (a very active and curious one at that) it’s nearly impossible to cook something without the fear that he might harm himself while I attend to cooking or I might burn food while I attend to him. In an attempt to avoid all the hassle I settled for eating leftovers at lunch until I rediscovered two of my go-to recipes for a quick and tasty lunch. I thought I’d share them on here for all you mommas who are in the same boat or who just want to save time once in a while.

Naan (flatbread) Pizza

This has been my favourite lunch since I was in university. It was one of the easiest things to make, especially since we had a toaster oven to get the job done faster. To make this super simple, I just use whatever veggies are in the fridge or in some leftover salad from the night before.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Naan
  • Mozarella cheese (shred directly onto the pizza, to your liking)
  • 2-3 Mushrooms (sliced)
  • 1/4 small red onion (thinly sliced)
  • 1/2 Bell pepper (sliced)
  • Baby spinach (a few leaves)
  • Chicken/meat of your liking

Pizza sauce

You can use pizza sauce if you have some lying around or mix some up. I like to use 3 tablespoons of Ragu sauce mixed with one teaspoon of ketchup. I then add a pinch of salt and a dash of black pepper. If you want to make the pizza spicy you can sprinkle some red pepper flakes onto the pizza before popping it into the oven.

Method:

  • I usually keep my naan in the freezer so I take one out and let it thaw while I cut up the veggies (or recycle some from the previous night’s salad; that’s where I got the spinach and onions from!)
    Once I’m done cutting up the veggies I work on the pizza sauce. Then I spread the sauce onto the naan and shred some mozarella cheese onto the pizza with a handheld cheese grater. You can shred as much or as little as you want. I like to go heavy on the cheese.
  • Then I add my veggies. If you’re a meat lover you can go ahead and add whatever meat you have leftover in your fridge. I used a chicken-cheese dip my brother-in-law gave. I’m not sure how he made it but I’m guessing he cooked chicken and then shredded and blended it into cream cheese and some kind of jalapeรฑo sauce. It took the pizza to another level. I kid you not.
  • If you have a toaster oven you can go ahead and pop the pizza into it. If not, you can do what I do: cook it on the stove on medium heat for 3-4 minutes or until the bottom of the naan gets crispy. Then pop it into the oven and broil on high heat until the cheese starts to bubble and you can see it turning golden brown.

Noodle soup

This is another one of my favourites. For some reason I find myself leaning towards this on Friday afternoons. I don’t know if it’s because it’s the end of the week and I’m out of ideas or because it’s becoming a tradition. Anywho, it’s another very simple recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pack of Mr. Noddles or Bowl Noodles (I use the Kimchi flavoured ones)
  • water (use amount indicated on package)
  • 1 head of broccoli cut into florets
  • 4-5 mushrooms (chopped)
  • 1 medium onion (sliced)
  • 1 tablespoon Soya sauce
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seed oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

Method:

  1. Prepare Bowl Noodles or Mr. Noodles according to instructions written on packaging.
  2. Cut the veggies
  3. In a separate pan, heat the oils, soya sauce and lemon juice for 1 minute. Then add veggies and stir fry on medium heat for 3-4 minutes.
  4. Remove fom heat and add veggies to noodles (I add a little bit of veggies at a time so they don’t wilt in the noodles).

You could also add grilled hot dogs on the side (like my sister-in-law did in this pic) or any other meat from leftovers. And if you’d like, you could garnish with some chopped spring onions.

Thanks for reading!

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What are some of your quick and tasty lunch ideas? Let me know in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you.

Lots and lots of bear hugs,

-Momma M

How to cope with the stomach flu as a stay-at-home mom

I didn’t think I’d be writing another one of these flu season posts but then again it’s still winter. And germs are lurking everywhere. Anywho, right after the Family Day weekend, we were hit with a serious case of stomach flu (gastroenteritis). My son got it first and then somehow I ended up getting it too. And let me tell you, it wasn’t pretty. But the good news is we got over it in due time (there’s really no medicine for it so you just have to let it run its course). I did, however, try a few home remedies to relieve the symptoms, namely nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

But first, here are a few tips to help deal with the stomach flu.

  1. Wash hands frequently. This one is a no-brainer. And it was the easiest to apply because I was going to the washroom frequently anyway. I also made sure to wash my hands after I changed my son’s diaper. I did keep some hand sanitizer nearby just in case.
  2. Drink plenty of liquid. Because my stomach was being emptied around the clock, I had to make sure I didn’t become dehydrated. To prevent dehydration, I took plenty of fluids. I asked hubby to buy a crate of water bottles and a pack of Gatorade. I drank both religiously for the first 48 hours.
  3. Eat starchy foods because they are easy to digest. This is something the telehealth nurse suggested when we called in for baby’s symptoms. Starchy foods include crackers, cereal and toast. I only ate crackers, however, because I didn’t feel like eating anything else. The food aversion was the worst I’ve ever had.
  4. Get plenty of rest. If you’ve ever had the stomach flu then you know just how badly it can drain you of energy. In fact, I needed all the rest I could get. Even climbing the stairs felt like a mission. So I stopped everything I was doing. Instead, Baby and I just laid in bed for most of the day (for 2 days) watching cartoons and eating crackers until hubby got home.
  5. Keep some paper bags or plastic shopping bags handy. Things can get pretty messy with a stomach bug so you have to be equipped for accidents. Sometimes the nausea was so strong that I would just barely make it to the washroom. So, I decided to keep some shopping bags by my bed for emergencies. I was glad I thought of this because I actually ended up needing one (my son was breastfeeding and wouldn’t unlatch in time so I had to jump out of bed, take a few steps back and vomit into the bag). It was horrible, to say the least.
  6. Keep some wipes handy. Despite your best efforts, you may miss your intended target (the plastic bag) by a little or your timing could be off and some of the stuff that was supposed to go into the bag may end up on the floor. I speak from experience. Luckily, I had some Lysol wipes handy and I took care of the situation ASAP.

As I mentioned earlier there’s no over-the-counter medicine for the stomach flu but there are ways to treat the symptoms (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea). Here are some of the remedies that worked for me:

For Nausea/vomiting

  • Warm gingerale: my sister-in-law who had the stomach flu earlier this year recommended warming up some ginger ale and drinking it slowly. It sounded kind of strange at first but when she warmed me a cup I gave it a try. And it worked! I only had to drink a quarter of the cup and my stomach felt much better half an hour later. And I didn’t puke after that.
  • Ginger-cinnamon tea: this is a traditional remedy that’s quite popular in the Indian subcontinent. Our elders have it engrained in their memory. It’s like wisdom that they impart. True story: My mom and mother-in-law both recommended it when I got sick. Even though the ginger ale had stopped the bouts of vomiting, I decided to make myself a cup of this tea just to be on the safe side. Thankfully, it’s pretty simple to make. All you have to do is put a cup of water in a pot to boil and throw in a cinnamon stick, 2-3 cardamom pods, an inch of fresh ginger, some mint leaves, and a teaspoon of honey. I also added half a teaspoon of lemon juice to balance the taste of honey and cinnamon. The tea was very soothing and I enjoyed the hint of spice that the ginger added.

For diarrhea

  • Psyllium husk: this is a natural remedy that works wonders. It absorbs water helping to thicken stool and slow down bowel movements. Hubby actually fixed me a cup before he left for work the second day. He mixed one table spoon of the powder in one cup of water. He also added a drop of Rooh Afza, which is a sweet syrup used to flavour water and milk. You could also use Orange juice to add some flavour (it’s very bland otherwise). I had to stir the concoction constantly so it wouldn’t thicken and then drink it quickly. I only had 3 sips and an hour later my stomach ceased to sound like a washing machine.

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Have you ever gotten the stomach flu? What were some remedies that worked for you? Let me know in the comments below.

Lots and lots of bear hugs, ๐Ÿค—

-Momma M

Table for two…and a half

Hubby and I have been married for a little over 3 years and every Valentine’s Day we go out for dinner. This year we had planned on spending time with family but when those plans fell through we chose to dine at our favourite hakka restaurant.

After our Costco adventure we were a bit hesitant to take Baby out with us but we decided that a family restaurant would be a safe bet; we’d get to have a nice meal and Baby would hopefully be a bit more calm. So off we went.

In the past, Hubby would always ask for a table for two but ever since Baby came along things have changed slightly (we’re now that couple who brings along their baby to date night, haha). So now Hubby asks for a table for two and a half. People sometimes look up at us to see who the half is and then chuckle when they see Baby.

Yesterday we got lucky. Even though the restaurant was busier than usual, we got a table near the front, facing the TV. We moved the high chair so Baby could look at the screen and stay occupied while we placed our order and waited for it to arrive.

And while we waited I pulled out a banana for Baby to snack on. I know it might seem counterintuitive to bring a snack to a restaurant but I didn’t want Baby to starve in case he didn’t like the food we ordered. And knowing that he’s a picky eater there was a high probability that might happen. Nevertheless we tried to keep our order baby-friendly. We went with chicken spring rolls (which he really enjoyed when he had them at home), beef and vegetable fried rice, steamed rice, sweet and sour fish, and chilli chicken (which wasn’t very spicy).

Baby ate almost all of the banana and then worked on the spring roll. It was a bit crunchy for him so he left it in half. And then he wanted out…of his high chair ๐Ÿ™ˆ. Hubby wasn’t too amused because he usually ends up having to entertain Baby because he is Baby’s entertainment of choice aka the chosen one ๐Ÿ˜…. So, Hubby had to hold Baby in his lap and play some games with him. Baby’s favourite game is trying to guess which hand Hubby’s wedding ring is in (Hubby will move it around in his palms and then make fists and ask Baby to guess which hand it’s in). It’s also the most convenient game to play when we forget to pack toys for Baby or when he gets bored of playing with the ones we do bring.

When the main dishes were served Baby wanted to sample them with his fingers. Of course we had to prevent him from doing so because the food was hot and not to mention things would get messy. Instead, Hubby put some food in his plate and fed Baby a little bit. He also tried eating along until Baby became antsy. Luckily, I had finished most of my plate, so I switched with Hubby. He ate while I entertained Baby. Finally, we had dessert and got the leftovers packed.

Overall, the dinner was a success (that’s how we talk about date night now that we’re parents ๐Ÿ˜‚). Aside from getting a bit agitated sitting in his high chair, Baby enjoyed his outing. We were surprised but mostly happy that he didn’t scream or yell at people. The most he did was shriek with excitement once or twice while playing games with his dad. I guess Baby is getting used to being in public.

Lots and lots of bear hugs, ๐Ÿค—

-Momma M

Nursing my toddler back to health

Winter can be so unforgiving. About a week ago my son was grappling with a cough, runny nose and an on-off fever. His voice was raspy, you could hear the phlegm in his cough, and when he lied down it would get worse. In fact, sometimes he would cough so hard that he’d vomit and then the vomiting would make him weak. And every few hours he’d develop a fever. Then I’d give him Tylenol and he’d be good for some time but then the fever would creep up again.

Things continued that way for 3 days until we decided to get him checked out to make sure it wasn’t anything serious. We took him to an Urgent Care centre nearby after hubby got home from work one day. Normally it takes about 3-4 hours to be seen by a doctor and return home (3 hours is usually the wait time, and the rest is the actual checkup and driving time, to and fro). We decided to leave as soon as hubby got home, thinking that the sooner we left, the sooner we’d be home.

Boy were we wrong. It took a whopping 9 hours! And after doing a chest x-ray to rule out something more serious, we were told that baby had an upper respiratory tract infection. The doctor didn’t prescribe any medicine, though. She suggested we put a vaporizer in our room to help baby’s cough at night, and offer plenty of fluids to keep him hydrated.

We got a warm mist vaporizer, gave baby water, milk, and unsweetened fruit juice. I even made him some chicken broth. But it took a lot of TLC to help him recover. He was quite lethargic so I let him sleep as much as he wanted to between meals and gave him food he enjoyed so he would be more inclined to eat and regain energy. I also breastfed him more.

It was a long and tiring week but thankfully baby’s doing much better now. His fever is gone, he no longer has a runny nose and his cough is on its way out (the phlegm subsided a few days ago).

Now I just hope winter gets packing, too.

Lots and lots of bear hugs, ๐Ÿค—

-Momma M

The butter chicken miracle

I normally don’t write about cooking because I’m not much of a cook and when I do cook something exciting it’s usually a fluke, or it turns out to be something completely different from the original recipe. That’s almost what happened last weekend.

I had been craving butter chicken and we were due to revisit my brother-in-law and sister-in-law, who had a baby in December. So, I decided to make butter chicken to take along with us. Even though I had been craving the dish all week I didn’t get around to making it until the weekend. You see, I usually cook quick meals during the week and save elaborate projects for the weekend when hubby is home and can watch baby. As of late, baby loves to “help” me in the kitchen by opening all the kitchen cabinets he can reach, lining up plastic containers on the floor, removing pots and pans from their places and just supervising my work in the kitchen. I can’t handle that kind of pressure so I wait for the weekend to do some unsupervised food experiments.

After Googling butter chicken recipes and skimming through some I settled on a recipe by none other than world-renowned Chef Gordon Ramsay. It wasn’t on his official website but it had a 4-star rating from almost 300 people and was taken from his television show Ramsay’s Great Escape. I was sold.

Because it was a British recipe, however, I ran into a problem. I didn’t recognize one of the ingredients– something called double cream–so I Googled it and discovered that it’s not sold here in Canada and the closest alternative is whipping cream (30% butterfat as compared to 48%, which is found in double cream).

Since baby needed to be fed and changed, hubby offered to get the ingredients I needed. It wasn’t until he got home that I realized I had made a mistake in texting the ingredients. Instead of whipping cream, I had asked hubby to get whipped cream. Yikes. We had taken a detour from the original recipe. It was either going to be a disaster or a miracle. I kept my fingers crossed and continued cooking.

The prep and cooking time took longer than expected. I thought the chicken would be baked in 10 minutes but it took 45 minutes. By the time everything was finished we were 2 hours behind schedule. I did a quick taste test and I was disappointed. The butter chicken was missing its distinct buttery and creamy taste. It had a bit of a kick but it just didn’t taste like what it was supposed to. I didn’t have time to fully investigate what went wrong (aside from the whipped cream fiasco) so I added more butter, hoping that it would add the missing flavour.

When we got to my brother-in-law’s house for dinner I was pleasantly surprised. I did a quick taste test and the dish was packed with flavour. I guess all it needed was time to settle. The buttery, creamy taste had finally come through. It had been sitting in the pot with a lid on for at least 45 minutes which was probably enough time for the flavours to mix. And it was absolutely delicious. I couldn’t have been more thankful.

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Have you ever had a cooking miracle? Let me know in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you.

Lots and lots of bear hugs, ๐Ÿค—

-Momma M